Sleep is pivotal to our health; it’s a valuable restorative period that many of us overlook. Adults should aim for around 7-8 hours of sleep at night, however work and social commitments mean that a lot of us skip sleep in order to meet all of the demands of the day. Lack of sleep doesn’t just mean tiredness the next day but it can create a whole host of other underlying health problems.
Not sleeping long enough can actually be contributed to our weight gain. As when we don’t sleep we tend to feel lethargic and as a result skip the gym and tend to make poor food choices. In a bid to keep us awake we end up grabbing snacks and caffeine laden drinks to give us a boost throughout the day.
On average we tend to eat an extra 300 calories per day when we’re tired. Whether this is late night eating or eating to compensate for feeling tired. It takes around 3,500 calories more than you burn to gain weight of 1 lb. So, if you consume an extra 300 calories per day without burning it off, it can lead to a weight gain of around 1-2 lbs. over the course of a week. When we are tired our metabolism slows down to help us to conserve energy. Therefore our body’s natural calorie burning furnace doesn’t get started up and it takes more effort to shift calories.
It has been found that people who sleep for five hours or less a night are more predisposed to diabetes, higher cholesterol, heart attacks and increased blood pressure. Not sleeping can also make us feel anxious, stressed and ultimately lead to depression. When we are lacking energy daily tasks tend to become more stressful and this increases our levels of the hormone cortisol, which has been found to causes of weight gain.
Insomnia is perhaps one of the oldest forms of sleep disorders that mankind has been grappling with which is the root cause of the above problems, which resurge back into our bodies simply because we are not sleeping well enough.
Sleeping well helps us to switch off from all of the pressures of the day and truly relax. Sleep is vital to memory restoration and learning as memories are formed during the different stages of sleep. By fully relaxing our brains we can be more alert and it helps improve our concentration and ability to carry out daily tasks. A good night’s sleep also helps to strengthen the immune system. So if you keep pulling all night it can actually do more harm to you in the long run. Make sure you switch off at night and that means smart phones and pc or any electrical device with LCD lighting, as this can actually interfere with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. Give yourself time to wind down at night and make sleep a priority.